At a campaign event in Arizona, former President Donald Trump hinted at imposing tariffs on countries, including China, that fail to curb the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States if he wins the presidential election in November. Responding to a question from the audience, Trump emphasized the U.S.'s economic leverage, stating that if a country like China does not help reduce illegal immigration, "we have these things called tariffs." He added that he could "tariff the hell out of that country" if re-elected.

This event marked Trump's first public appearance since a Manhattan jury convicted him on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, calling the trial "rigged" and vowing to appeal the verdict.

The issue of border security has emerged as a crucial topic in the run-up to the November 5 election, where Trump will face incumbent President Joe Biden. Biden's administration recently took executive action to implement a broad asylum ban on migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, a move reminiscent of the Trump administration's policies. Trump criticized Biden's measure as "outrageous" and a sign of "death and defeat" at the border, despite its similarities to his own policies.

According to U.S. government data, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested more than 27,000 Chinese migrants illegally crossing the border with Mexico between October 1, 2023, and April 30, 2024. This represents a sharp increase in Chinese arrivals. Most undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S. are from Latin America.

Trump also suggested deploying U.S. troops stationed abroad to patrol the southern border and criticized Biden's inability to pass a bipartisan Senate bill aimed at toughening border security. Kevin Munoz, a Biden campaign spokesman, remarked, "Donald Trump blocked the toughest, fairest bipartisan border legislation in a generation. He did it because he thinks it will help him politically."

At the Arizona event, Trump's fiery rhetoric resonated with the audience, leading to chants of "bullshit" as he dismissed Biden's asylum ban. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that Biden's policy would allow a minimum of 2 million "illegal alien border crossers" into the U.S. each year. The Trump campaign did not provide a basis for this figure.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed over 400 legal challenges against the Trump administration during his first term, is preparing for potential renewed battles. The ACLU has published a blueprint outlining its plans to respond to a second Trump term, particularly focusing on his immigration policies. Anthony Romero, president of the ACLU, stated, "This is really kind of the sequel to the earlier work that we did fighting off the worst of the Trump abuses."

Trump's proposed immigration crackdown includes major arrest operations against undocumented individuals, opening detention camps, fast-tracking deportations, and ending automatic citizenship for children born in the U.S. to undocumented parents. Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Trump's campaign, asserted that Trump will "act to secure the southern border and reimplement his prior effective policies to protect our homeland."

The ACLU plans to counter these moves with a series of lawsuits, arguing that Trump's plans would violate constitutional protections. The organization is also urging state and local leaders to fund legal counsel for immigrants and track large-scale arrests to document racial profiling. Romero emphasized the need for "real, clear guardrails" to slow down the implementation of Trump's policies.

In anticipation of potential legal battles, the Heritage Foundation has developed a comprehensive "Project 2025" handbook, proposing a slew of actions on immigration to prepare a new Trump administration to better handle lawsuits. Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell University, noted that a second Trump administration would be "better prepared" to navigate legal challenges.

Meanwhile, Biden's recent measures to restrict asylum seekers have also drawn scrutiny from the ACLU, which is preparing likely legal challenges. Romero pointed out that while there is a stark contrast between Biden and Trump, there remains "an unfinished agenda with Team Biden."